Single mother looking for a lifesaving kidney donation

August 28, 2018

STEGER — A 38-year-old single mother battling nearly a lifetime of diabetes is seeking a kidney transplant to significantly extend her life expectancy.

Courtney Reynolds, mother of 2-year-old Nico Reynolds, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 4, which has led her to develop a host of other health issues.

“I’ve been in and out of hospitals my whole life,” Reynolds said.

About three years ago, Reynolds found out she was pregnant with her son, despite doctors’ claims she was unable to become pregnant. During and after her pregnancy, Reynolds’ health drastically declined as her kidneys began to fail.

“I have had numerous health complications throughout my life, and my pregnancy seemed to make things a lot worse,” she explained.

In December, under the suggestion of her doctors, Reynolds began receiving hemodialysis, more commonly known as kidney dialysis or simply dialysis. The procedure helps to keep the body in balance when an individual’s kidneys fail.

Three times each week for four hours per session, Reynolds receives dialysis at a medical center near her home. Still, Reynolds’ kidneys only are functioning at 2 percent of their capacity, according to her doctors.

“I was told with my kidney function as it is now, on dialysis, I would live less than two years,” Reynolds said.

Receiving a kidney donation would drastically improve Reynolds’ life expectancy.

“The typical patient will live about 15 years longer with a transplant than if kept on dialysis,” Reynolds explained.

Unfortunately, no one in Reynolds’ life is able to donate a kidney. Her sister was a perfect match to Reynolds’ B+ blood type, but recently underwent gastric bypass surgery and is ineligible to donate.

Reynolds expressed to the Daily Journal that she now is, more than ever, in desperate need of receiving a kidney donation. Before giving birth to her son, she had accepted the idea of dying early. Now, however, she is the only adult in her family able to take care of her son. Without her, he likely would be moved into foster care.

“Dying is not an option,” Reynolds said.

If you’d like to become an organ donor to help Courtney and her son, you can sign up to become a donor at mayoclinic.org/livingdonor.

Even if you do not match Reynolds’ B+ blood type, you still can donate through the Mayo Clinic’s exchange program. Through the program, anyone eligible can donate a kidney in Reynolds’ name and she will then be pushed to the top of the transplant list.

If you have questions, email livingdonororgantp@mayo.edu.

Update hourly